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 As we have come to expect, our friends in RTÉ put on another fine event on Saturday last so Niall Mathews and his colleagues deserve our thanks for their efforts.  There was an attendance of over 400 and it all went very smoothly.  Weather was pleasant with a light, cooling shower for a while during the race.  Our starter this year was plucked from our own ranks and the honour went to Catherine McCauley (ISS) who had to sound the foghorn and hand it over to a steward before she could set off.  

The winner of the men’s race was Vinny Mulvey of Vinny Mulvey Fitness and he had to work hard to get ahead of Paul Fleming, Bernard Roe, Mark Ryan and BHAA chairman Paul O’Connell.  Vinny was running his first race in two years following a long bout of injury, surgery and rehabilitation.  He was delighted to complete the course and it was a great bonus for him to win it in sub-5 minute mile pace.  Donna Mahon (Wheelworx) won the women’s section in 29m 29s.  Remarkably, the oldest runner on the day, Brendan Earley (aged 83) was a member of the Department of Justice team that took first prize in Class D.  Results and photos are on the BHAA website.

There was a fine spread of refreshments in the RTÉ social club afterwards with enough to cater for the large crowd.  Niall Mathews had his usual surprises.  On hand to present the prizes was Seán Óg Ó Ceallalcháin, a sprightly 88 years of age and aiming to become the presenter of the longest running radio sports programme within the next year.  Seán Óg was a member of the Dublin hurling team that played in the national hurling league final the last time that Dublin appeared in it – in 1946 – so he will certainly have enjoyed the weekend.  

Seán Óg presented the prizes for the winter cross-country leagues.  He was kept busy because there were prizes for the first five people in each of the eight league categories.  These prizes cover the full range of BHAA standards and, as will be seen from the detailed results on the BHAA website, regular attendance is a great help in getting you into the prizes as positions in six races counted.  The total prize fund paid out for the leagues was €3,200.

Next we had the BHAA personality of the year and proud recipient was BHAA president Maurice Timmins.  Maurice was a founder member of the BHAA and runs in the M65 category.  He has run more than 150 marathons and is still going strong.  Indeed, Maurice ran a leg of the Raheny Shamrock Malin to Mizen marathon relay on Friday night and hurried back for the RTÉ race.  

There were loads of spot prizes and many race participants lost out because they were not present when their names were called.  One lucky winner got tickets to the Late Late Show after many names had been called without response.  It wasn’t a fix.

I mentioned Maurice Timmins and the Raheny Shamrock relay above.  Maurice was accompanied on that leg by Dave Brady who also made it to Donnybrook for the 5 mile race before heading off for the marathons in Limerick (Sunday) and Belfast (Monday). Incidentally there were numerous other BHAA members in the Raheny relay group – Mary Purdue-Smyth (System Dynamics), Sean McGoldrick (Sunday World), Tom Loftus (Dublin Bus), last year’s RTÉ winner, Mick Traynor (An Post) and probably a few others too.  Well done to all of them.  They are fundraising for Crumlin children’s hospital.

Our next BHAA race is the ESB beach race. This will be on Tuesday 17th May 2011 at 7.30pm on Sandymount strand.  Registration from 6pm at Clanna Gael/Fontenoy GAA club.  Bring your oldest runners – parts of the course can be a bit wet.  You might also want to pencil in the next race, the Social Welfare/Government Services 5 mile road race in Dunboyne on Tuesday 31 May 2011 at 8pm.  This race was the winner of the 2010 BHAA race of the year award.

And finally, a quote from Seán Óg Ó Ceallalcháin:  The four stages of ageing in men.  You don’t remember names; you don’t remember faces; you forget to close your fly; you forget to open your fly.  

Keep running and enjoy the longer evenings.

The Editor